Thursday, January 7, 2010

SF Weekly's Weed Takes Root

The S. Kitchen brings people together around food to connect, celebrate, and chow. It is about cuisine, camaraderie, and conversation. The core of these events are friends and family. Sure, we eat, but we also transform a space (right now my home) into something more than just walls. It is a space of love, laughter, and liberation.

John and I have been very intentional in how create this space. It looks effortless, but that supposes no physical or mental exertion. And that is most definitely not the case. In fact, it is full of effort.

Effort from the Latin is the combination of ex- "out" and fortis "strong". Therefore, when I read this week's SF Weekly article "Weed Takes Root", I thought "I better let people know about this and how it relates to the S. Kitchen."

You see... The S. in The S. Kitchen stands for "stoner". Now, I know many of you are not really shocked by that. You may even be one. But I haven't actually addressed the real intention behind effortfully making this about stoners (even though John doesn't even smoke). The reason is simple: to change public opinion about a supposed "drug", we need to be "out" and "strong" about our personal usage. The S. Kitchen is a place to be out and strong. And you don't even have to be a stoner to get behind that.

I have been a stoner for almost 12 years. It has changed my life for the better. Sure, it's easy to brush that off and dismiss it as typical of an addict or alcoholic to say, but that is only looking at a pattern not at the quality of life.

I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 21. It was something that always got in the way. Sure, lots of people have it and they function perfectly fine in the world. For some of us, not so much. In fact, my inability to pay attention directly resulted in going to two different colleges, flunking out of one and bailing on the other. I just couldn't keep it together to stay in school.

I dabbled with pot when I was in Minnesota and at school at Antioch. It was just a recreational thing every now and again. I had fun with it at parties or at bars, but that was about it. Then, I moved to San Francisco and found something different.

My ADHD diagnosis happened when I was home for two weeks before moving from Antioch College (in Ohio) to San Francisco. The doctor prescribed me Adderol, and then I hopped on a plane. A few days later after settling in to my new surroundings I decided to start my medication. I was up for three whole days. That may sound like a great time, but I love sleep. So I had to quit my medication.

I didn't have insurance or a doctor, so there was no way to get other medication. My head spun and spun and spun. All of the pent up hyperactivity kept threatening to eat away at any semblance of peace and quiet. At home alone, I felt like I was on speed even when I was completely sober. It made doing almost anything to completion impossible.

My occasional usage started increasing out of pure indulgence. Hell, I was 21, queer, and in San Francisco. Who wouldn't indulge? But things started slowly changing over time. I noticed that when I woke up in the morning, I could actually focus for a longer period of time. The voices that kept pestering me as I tried to fall asleep quieted. Sure they weren't silent, but I could tune them out. The nervous energy that made me zip from corner to corner would subside after a puff. Once again, it didn't go away completely, but it did make being me more manageable.

And I found a community of stoners. These people, these friends and family, are a unique bunch. Here is some of what I have noticed:
  • generosity
  • kindness
  • love
  • openness 
  • dreams
  • love
  • an ability to think differently
  • munchies
  • love 
  • slowness (as opposed to laziness)
  • green, green, and more green
  • love
  • laughter and humor
  • compassion
  • love
Now, this doesn't go for all stoners. There certainly are slackers out there. But in my experience those actually are far and few between. We get a bad rap thanks to Pineapple Express, Up in Smoke, Harlod and Kumar, but some of the hardest working teachers, grocers, librarians, artists, writers, business people, techies, youth workers I know are stoners. And a lot of times it is something that is kept in the shadows or whispered outside circles for fear of what revealing being a stoner might do to a career.

That fear is understandable. We live in a society that has many negative perceptions of drugs, alcohol, and sex. But the tides are turning. SF Weekly's "Weed Takes Root" chronicles the shift not only in perception but also policy.

The Stoner's Kitchen is my attempt at helping continue this shift one meal, one conversation, one family at a time.

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